Opera plans video boost with Skyfire acquisition

Opera is taking over mobile video company Skyfire Labs, in a deal worth around $155 million in cash and stock, with the aim of exploiting its video optimization technology.

The Mountain View, California-based company’s products include Rocket Optimizer, which lets mobile operators squeeze more content onto their limited bandwidth by optimizing video and other multimedia on both 3G and 4G LTE networks.

Rocket Optimizer gives a 60 percent boost in capacity by reducing the size of video and other multimedia content as needed to fit the available bandwidth, says the company.

Skyfire also offers Skyfire Horizon, a mobile browser extension and toolbar platform that allows users to personalize their smartphone browser.

“Opera and Skyfire are a natural fit. Both companies have evolved far beyond their browser roots,” says Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera.

“Skyfire adds capabilities to our portfolio around video, app optimization, smartphones and tablets, and strength in North America. With video expected to consume over two-thirds of global mobile bandwidth by 2015, and as time spent on Android and iOS apps explodes, we are excited to extend Opera’s solutions for operators.”

Skyfire will remain independent as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opera, and will continue to develop and support the Skyfire browser. Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck will keep his position but will also become EVP of Operator Business for Opera.

The two companies are promising a powerful new set of joint products over the coming year, including an expansion of Opera’s Web Pass offering, which allows consumers to purchase unusual data plans such as an unlimited ‘day pass’ of popular apps and web sites, thanks to video and data optimization.

“Opera practically invented cloud compression to improve mobile user experience, and the team at Skyfire is proud to join forces and advance cloud solutions together,” says Jeffrey Glueck, CEO of Skyfire.

“The synergies across all the product lines for both companies are tremendous.”